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Editorials and Responsibility

Mark Tobola

Editorials and Responsibility

Columns
4 mins
December 28, 2021

I'd like to start this one off by reminding everyone that... this is my opinion, and my thoughts.  And I have much to learn and am not an "authority" on anything here.  However, I feel that sharing some of the discussions and then the thinking that occurs from them may be of help to some of you who read these articles.  And that's why I keep writing them!

This year has seen a great number of things come through the world that have made some major impacts upon all of us.  And with all of the impacts, folks like to visit more now than ever before!  And the topics range wide and far...  In the last week though, on gentleman and I were talking, and he started talking about some of the more basic issues that plague the nation.  He began discussing drug use, alcoholism, certain types of crime, and a handful of other generic topics...

And then he said "You know, I really believe that when you see someone getting their 9th DUI or OWI, or 11th, or some huge number like that, it is indicative of a mental health issue."  It caught me off guard, and it got me thinking that point over.  I have been turning this over and over in my head since I heard it because of the fact that, when you really boil it down, mental health is your foundation of all health.

I'm really becoming more and more surprised every time I start to dig into a topic and start to find that psychological studies have provided a basis to prove that a number of times, consistent behaviors are rooted in a psychological/mental health, or lack thereof.  Now this doesn't mean that people are psychologically broken or in some sort of severe state of mental status!  It means that there's something going on that they, themselves, aren't even aware that they are doing!  And it's end result is a certain type of behavior that is carried out over and over and over, and often defying any and all logic.

So, I've had some training on this front, on a very surface level.  And the thing I was taught was that many of these things have a type of trigger.  The key is to help people learn how to see the triggers, and then how to handle them properly.  It sounds so easy!  But yet, I'm still overweight, even though I KNOW that the way to lose weight is to eat right and exercise more!  Knowing the trigger is part of the battle, but knowing how to handle it so it doesn't force you into self-destructive action?  Not so easy...  Especially when said action isn't really "socially prohibited" or "socially discouraged."

If someone knows the answers to the complex issues I'm writing about, please touch base with me. I'd love to hear them.  So far, my own experience has taught me that there are far more ways to skin a cat than there are cats to be skinned.  My experience has also taught me that what works for one person doesn't always mean it works for another.  A person has to learn how to recognize those triggers and how to do something about it that is constructive and positive, instead of doing the "same old thing" that leads them down a poor path.  

So how do we do this?  I don't really know.  I have no answers!  I know that many things I've had suggested to me seem to me to be great solutions.  Social organizations are helpful, and in this unique point in time, social interaction is critical.  Being part of something larger than the problems you're dealing with helps a lot.  And often times, you have to get outside of your own head, your own thinking, to discover the solutions you seek.  You have to make the effort to be around those who aren't handling the same issues, because they may lead you to facts that you can adopt and solve your issues with, simply through association!

I'm very aware of the fact that writing here in this paper is something I was invited to do, by Travis Rogers.  To me, that brings a long list of responsibilities upon me, the one writing the words that end up in print.  I am being given an incredible duty to say... well to say whatever is on my mind!  And that brings with it a list of things I should not do.  

The past few years have seen a number of headlines that are pointing to a "blistering editorial" or a "strong opinion" or a "scathing opinion-editorial" about things...  And many times when I've taken the time to read said scathing, strong, blistering, or whatever it was worded as mean-spirited writing, it has typically shown sides of the writer that I'd be ashamed to admit in public.  And yet, that is the trend.  That is "America's main-stream media" in a nutshell.  

I have my opinions, and my thoughts, and my stances.  But I often find that any time I want to go off on some blistering rant over something, that there is usually more information that turns the entire story on its ear.  And then you have to look at the entire situation and wonder what the truth and facts really are.  Many times I find that there is a greater need for giving grace to everyone involved than to have some sort of angry, wrath-filled outburst.

We have now gone past Thanksgiving, and are heading towards Christmas.  I hope that as we all move forward, we can all think about how we can all show more grace to those around us.  We never know what they have going on, what they are dealing with, or what others have inflicted upon them, be it something they earned or didn't!  I, for one, am going to work harder than ever to lead by example and keep showing grace to everyone.  And I hope that some of you who read this choose to follow my example!


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Mark Tobola

Mark Tobola is a resident of Thorp and weekly columnist.

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